A mystery laced with soap. Even though it’s pretty easy to figure out who dun it it’s always nice to see Edward G.Robinson. Kathleen Freeman has a bit part as the apartment house maid.
The movie opens with a murder. Turns out it’s just the ending of a TV show called “Crime Of The Week.” Don Newell (John Forsythe) is the writer, Dave Markson (Richard Denning) is the producer and Henry Hayes (Edward G.Robinson) is a former police reporter who is the researcher and casting director for the show. He’s a stickler for details.
After the broadcast Don asks Henry to cover for him. He told his wife Louise he had to work late. Paula Ranier (Kathleen Hughes) is an actress who gets bit parts here and there. Henry cast her in “Crime Of The Week” for that week’s episode.
Henry invites her to his place for some dinner and…..Before he can get to the and part she says she has to leave for a meeting with some other casting directors. What she does is go home and wait for Don. When he gets there he tells her it’s all over between them. That means no more money for her. Think again Don. She has a pair of pajamas of his with his name tag sewn in by Louise. She wants twenty-five hundred bucks.
Don heads for a bar and remembers how it all started with her.The next day he closes out his kids savings accounts to help raise the money.
Paula gets a call from her estranged husband. He’s coming over whether she likes it or not. Later her doorbell rings. She opens the door and says “Don.” It’s Henry. She reads him the riot act, tells him she’s leaving town and blasts him for what a loser he is. Meanwhile the same record, “Temptation” is playing on her record player over and over and over.
Don shows up, hears an argument inside and ducks into the stairwell. He doesn’t see her toss Henry out. Next door to Paula there’s a drunken party that occasionally spills out into the hall. Don finally gets a break and notices Paula’s door is unlocked so he goes in. There she is…dead on the floor.
He searches for his pajamas, finds them and rips out the name label and puts it in his sport coat handkerchief. In the hall by the elevator two drunken women from the party come out and won’t leave him alone. He doesn’t notice that one grabs his handkerchief and the label falls out.
Back at the bar he notices the label is gone. He heads back to Paula’s apartment building. Too late. The cops are there. Since Paula’s not going to need the blackmail money he reopens his kids bank accounts. It’s coming up on the last show of the season and the client has to decide whether to renew.
The season ender is going to be Paula’s murder. The cops have arrested her estranged husband as a suspect. Don goes home to start writing it. When he leaves Henry asks Dave if he can write a script for it and gets the okay. Henry drops in on Don and Louise for some breakfast coffee. He brought Don some mail from the studio. There’s a package. It’s a pair of pajamas.
Don drives Henry towards work when he’s told that it was Henry who sent them. Don drives to a remote cliffside above the ocean. Henry explains the web he’s been weaving around him. Don thinks about pushing him over. Henry reminds him that it won’t do any good.
It’s an interesting ending but more for how it’s done than any revelation about the murderer. It’s based on the book by Max Ehrlich who later went on to writing horror novels. The most famous was “The Reincarnation Of Peter Proud” in 1974.